Mission Trip to India Pulls together Major Religious Faiths

missiontrip1TAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 19) - Students from Washington Adventist University continue to take the institutions passion for excellence and service abroad, this time with a three-week trip to Pune, a bustling metropolis in Maharashtra, India’s second largest state.

Fifteen students made the trip, led by Vice President of Ministry Baraka Muganda, Ed.D. and Chaplain for Ministry, Regina Johnson. The students left the University June 7 and returned June 23.

“Washington Adventist University is preparing students not only academically but also spiritually, to impact the local and global world through service,” said Muganda.

missiontrip2Students participated in a health fair, under the theme NEWSTART (nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest, and trust in divine power) and visited the Good Shepherd School and the Roger School, both secondary institutions , and Spicer Memorial College, a Seventh-day Adventist Institution of higher learning in Pune.

Students also preached at the locations and conducted Vacation Bible School, attended mostly by children from Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim homes.

“It was awesome to hear these children sing with joy and excitement and not only at the schools but also in their own homes. What these young missionaries from Washington Adventist University have done in Pune will go a long way to plant seeds of faith among the people of missiontrip3Pune,” said Thomson Parackal, pastor of the Good Shepherd Church in Pune and coordinator for the group’s evangelistic activities. “This mission trip planted the seeds of Jesus in many Indian homes in the city of Pune. The children in those homes are now singing songs like, “Jesus Loves Me” and “He is Able.”

The trip ended June 22 with the baptism of 30 new converts.

“Under the heat of a beautiful Indian day, we watched as our brothers and sisters in Christ gave their lives to Him, rebirth. A distinct visual I will forever cherish,” said Sola Campbell, recent graduate of Oakwood University who accompanied the WAU students on this trip.

Spence Named Secretary/Treasurer of Maryland Independent College and University Association

spence smTAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 16)- Weymouth Spence, Ed.D. President of Washington Adventist University has been elected secretary/treasurer by The Board of Trustees of the Maryland Independent College and University Association elected, effective July 1, 2013.

He will serve alongside Chairman Kevin Manning, President of Stevenson University; Vice Chair Roger Casey, President of McDaniel College; and Capital Projects Committee Chair, Michael Wood, President of Capitol College.

MICUA is a member-driven organization devoted to serving the interests of independent higher education and supporting the work of campus leaders throughout the State. Established in 1971, the Association provides services to foster cooperative efforts among its member institutions and all segments of higher education. As the voice of independent higher education in Maryland, MICUA seeks to inform the broader public about its member institutions and the vital importance of independent colleges and universities to the future of our State and nation.

Washington Adventist University is a private liberal arts institution located in scenic Takoma Park, Md. Founded in 1904, it is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers a Christian education to nearly 1,500 students of all faiths, through eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. Its vision is to produce graduates who bring competence and moral leadership to their communities. The 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked the University among the best regional colleges in the northern region and as one of the most diverse.

Retired Trustee Honored With Gateway Service Award

trusteewebphotoTAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 12) –Former president of the East Allegheny Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the Washington Adventist University Board of Trustees, Charles Cheatham, is the newest recipient of the Gateway Distinguished Service Award.

President Weymouth Spence, Ed.D, presented the award to Cheatham at an East Allegheny camp meeting, June 28.

“Charles Cheatham served WAU with great distinction for 12 years. He was a valuable member of the board and the University was enriched by his presence. We wish him well in retirement; it is very well earned,” Spence said.

Cheatham served as a member of the WAU board of from 2000 to 2012. He was a member of the marketing and enrollment and executive committees.

Cheatham, who holds a master’s degree in theology from Andrews University, has done extensive missionary work in Africa, Russia, Europe, India, and the Caribbean.  His numerous roles in the church include those of pastor, director, and executive Secretary.

University Celebrates America’s Day

carraigeTAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 10) – Washington Adventist University (WAU) president Weymouth Spence, Ed.D., celebrated America’s 237th year as an independent nation by participating in the annual Takoma Park Independence Day Parade, along with his family and a number of WAU staff and students.

“I believe it is important for the University to connect with the city and I thought this was one way to do that,” Spence said. “It was great; I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

This is the 124th consecutive celebration Independence Day for the City of Takoma Park. This year’s parade began at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen Avenues, wound its way along Carroll Avenue through Old Town Takoma, turned right on Maple Avenue, and ended at the intersection of Maple and Ritchie Avenues, a distance of approximately 1.25 mile.groupwau

The City of Takoma Park is a municipality of approximately 17,000 residents in Montgomery County, Maryland. It has a long history of political and civic activism, leading to the city declaring itself a nuclear free zone and a sanctuary city. Non-U.S. citizen residents are permitted to vote in municipal elections and environmental initiatives have been pursued for decades by the public and the city government.

peopleTakoma Park is known as “Azalea City” because of the many flowering azalea bushes that brighten the area in the spring.

Washington Adventist University is the only four year residential institution of higher learning in Montgomery County.

Radio Station Appoints New General Manager

Kevin-Krueger-Head-Shot-April-2013TAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 9) – Kevin Krueger, general manager for KGTS 91.3 and Positive Life Radio Network at Walla Walla University, Washington, is the new general manager of WGTS 91.9 FM, the contemporary Christian music radio station owned by Washington Adventist University. Rob Vandeman, chair of the WGTS Board, confirmed the appointment, July 3.

Located in Takoma Park, Md., WGTS serves the Washington, D.C., area, broadcasting to over 600,000 listeners.  It ranks among the top 10 in the Washington D.C. market.

“It’s an honor to be invited to guide the team at an industry leading station and ministry. KGTS/PLR and WGTS have a long rich ‘sister station’ history that I plan to continue. I anticipate many wonderful opportunities to serve the people in our nation’s capital just as we have served those in the Inland Northwest. Whatever the scale or location, it really boils down to service – one person serving another,” says Krueger.

Krueger replaces General Manager John Konrad who died at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, January 2, after a short illness.  Douglas Walker currently serves as interim general manager.Studio-Photo---Kevin

Krueger began working as a student announcer at Walla Walla University’s radio station in 1982. After graduating from in 1987 with a degree in communications, he became program director and general manager a year later. Under his leadership, the station grew from a single local station into a regional Christian radio network with 120,000 listeners. Stations in the Positive Life Radio network are based in 15 cities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
“I’m humbled by what lies ahead. The opportunities to serve others and share Christ are huge. I feel fortunate to be joining a team of professionals and student interns that know their craft. The change is a hard one, we have deep roots in the Inland Northwest, but it’ll be good to take all I’ve learned here and take it to our nation’s capital to encourage and bless people,” Krueger said.

Cheryl Harris Kisunzu Appointed Provost

provost smTAKOMA PARK, Md. (June 13) - Cheryl Harris, Ph.D., RN, executive dean and director of nursing at Mountain View College, Dallas, Texas, has been appointed provost of Washington Adventist University (WAU), effective August 2013.

“I am excited about incorporating Dr. Kisunzu into the WAU leadership team,” said President Weymouth Spence, Ed.D. “I believe that her appointment will provide the stability, vision and energy that will help WAU meet the current and future needs of our students.”

Kisunzu holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI; M.S. in Nursing from Rush University, Chicago, IL and B.S.in Nursing, also from Andrews University/Berrien Springs.

She has held senior level positions in academic and administrative leadership, including grant administrator at Eastfield College, Mesquite, TX, and at different times, had responsibility for nursing, the life sciences, and human resources at William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, IL.   She has also taught at the community college and university levels for 14 years.

The search for a new provost for WAU began last fall when the University engaged the services of executive search firm, FaithSearch Partners, to identify well-qualified Adventist candidates.  Five individuals were interviewed by an internal panel, four of whom were invited to campus during April and May for  in-depth review by the entire campus community and members of the Board of Trustees.

“After carefully considering each candidate’s qualifications and strengths, as well as the campus community feedback, and after much prayer, I recommended Dr. Kisunzu to the Board of Trustees as the candidate who best fits the role of Provost.  At its special meeting, June 6, the Board concurred with my recommendation,” Dr. Spence said.

“I am extremely grateful to Dr. Patrick Williams who has served as Interim Provost since last July.  He has worked tirelessly to advance the academic agenda and I believe that he has orchestrated and laid significant groundwork for the institution for the future,” he added.

The president said Dr. Williams will continue to serve WAU as associate provost and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

“I look forward to his continued leadership and perspective as WAU continues to strengthen the academy.”

Mission to Mauritius A Huge Success, Says Muganda

Mission to MauritiusTAKOMA PARK, Md. (May 30) - Washington Adventist University’s (WAU) trip to Mauritius is being hailed as a success by Vice President of Ministry Baraka Muganda, who, along with assistant professor Alvin Fuentes, led a group of nine students to the island in the Indian Ocean, off the southeast coast of Africa.

“It was a very good trip,” Muganda said. “It was satisfying for all involved.”

He said the young missionaries began preaching on May 11 and continued for the next 15 days, ultimately reaching over 2500 visitors who attended the meetings.

The team also conducted devotions every morning at the only Seventh day Adventist Academy in Mauritius and played games with the students.

“The trip has brought me closer to God,” said junior theology major Danielle Barnard. “It has shown me the purpose for my life; I feel like God made me for Mauritius and the church members affirmed me as a theology teacher.”

Junior biology major Georgianna Johnson was excited about her first mission trip.

“I loved it!” she said. “My main fear was that people would not accept me, but they kept coming back. It was a two in one blessing—witnessing to members and learning about God at the same time.”

Myrna Wylyan, a native of Nevis in the Caribbean, accompanied her daughter, Janelle Wylyan, a junior social work major, on the trip.

“I went because the Lord had blessed me marvelously and I wanted to serve Him through this opportunity. I have grown closer to God in the process. I will always consider joining my daughter on these mission trips.”

For her part, Janelle is humbled “that God could use a broken vessel like me to bring others closer to Him.” She too expressed the view that the trip has shown her a purpose for her life.

Noting the success of the trip, Fuentes said he wished more faculty and staff would join the students on mission trips.

“There is such joy to work with students—preaching the word of God,” he said.

At the end of the two weeks, 65 people were baptized in several churches while another baptism is planned for June.

Adventist Accrediting Agency Says University is in Compliance


TAKOMA PARK, Md. (May 31) -The Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA), at its April 2013 meeting, voted to accept the November 2012 regular site visit report to Washington Adventist University (WAU) and grant continued accreditation for the period ending December 2017. This is the maximum term of accreditation possible under AAA guidelines.

“The faculty worked hard to demonstrate compliance. I am proud of their work to help secure the maximum term of continued accreditation,” said President Weymouth Spence, Ed.D. “Our institution is on an excellent growth trajectory and this is just one more indicator.”

Spence said it is the aim of WAU to continue to improve all facets of its operation to become a thriving university in the competitive higher education market.

“In academics, the University aims to exceed institutional and accreditation standards; expand service learning; conduct on-going program review; make strategic reinvestment in the quality of programs; and promote and strengthen support services that reflect 21st century best practices,” he said.

The AAA is the denominational accrediting authority for all tertiary and graduate educational programs and institutions owned by Seventh-day Adventist Church entities. It focuses on ensuring that an institution is aligned with the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“We are certainly pleased with this report,” Spence said.

Significant Growth in Learning Assessment Recorded

profrobertsKEV 3245 150TAKOMA PARK, Md. (May 28) - Washington Adventist University (WAU) submitted its monitoring report April 1, in continued compliance with regional accrediting body, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).   

Under the leadership of the chair of the newly formed academic assessment subcommittee, Dr. Melvin Roberts, the University demonstrated a significant increase in compliance since 2011, the time of the self-study. At that time, less than 50 percent of WAU departments had approved assessment plans in place. Today, all departments have at least one assessment plan documented, and most have curricular maps created and are documenting their learning outcomes in annual program reports.

“The real work was done by the academic departments. Without the efforts of the larger faculty in the planning and implementing stages, little progress would have been made,” Roberts said.

Over the past year, a response was required to MSCHE, on their findings from the self-study submitted and the 2012 site visit. Those processes are part of the 10-year accreditation process for MSCHE. Washington Adventist University met all 14 evaluation standard set by MSCHE.

On Standard 14, Student Learning Assessment, a monitoring report was required “documenting evidence of further implementation of an organized and sustained process to assess the achievement of student learning outcomes at the course, program, and institutional level, including (1) provision of increased institutional resources devoted to student learning outcomes assessment; (2) the integration of learning outcomes at the course, program, and institutional levels; and (3) the use of assessment results in academic planning at all levels.”

Last spring, Associate Vice President for the OIRE Janette Neufville, enlisted the services of Terra Schehr, the Associate Vice President of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Loyola to help address inconsistencies in student learning outcomes assessment. Schehr made a presentation to the faculty at their annual colloquium last August and provided feedback and advice to departmental assessment plans during one-on-one sessions from late September through late October.

Neufville also enlisted the help of former MSCHE Vice President, Linda Suskie, to address deficiencies in learning assessment and recommend a plan to address the concerns raised by MSCHE. Suskie visited the university in September 2012 to review current Standard 14 practices and advised on the institution’s approach to student learning outcomes assessment and to the Monitoring Report.